A Reflection On My College Athletic Career
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A Reflection On My College Athletic Career

Rosemont College Athletics has done more for me than I ever would imagined. I feel like a better man and a better athlete, and I owe it all to you. I'm a Raven for life.

A Reflection On My College Athletic Career

May 19th, 2017 was the date of very last competition that I had wore the maroon, black, and gray for Rosemont College before I graduate in a few weeks time. Throughout my collegiate athletic career, I have been a dedicated and battle-hardened member of the Men's Soccer team and a 3 year member of the Men's Tennis team. I have played in 59 competitions, starting 36 of them, for soccer; on the tennis end, I competed in a combined 25 matches in singles and doubles.

Never for a single moment have I regretted any session in the gym, any practice or game I participated in with Men's teams outside the Fall and non-traditional Spring seasons, or physical therapy sessions both at a clinic and at Rosemont's Athletic Training Room. Despite my body telling me to stop, I pushed on and continued to burn because I was in love with the intensity that I subjected myself to. I wanted to be the best, and even more, I wanted to win a conference championship. While no championship or personal accolades were won in my NCAA stint, all the lifts, sprints, running miles accumulated, individual and team practices, and physical therapy sessions were worth it.

Over the course of my 4 year stint, I pushed my body beyond its limits, and while that has resulted in great physical and skillful growth, it was accompanied was a myriad of injuries I had to battle. Two iconic ones were my tibial stress fracture I suffered during the Fall 2015 season, and that took a toll on me in more ways than one. Not only I was sidelined for 4 months, I was no longer able to run or play soccer as freely as I used to. I had to carefully plan out my workout regiments from that point forward to avoid overuse injuries. While I still ascended athletically and skillfully in both soccer and tennis, the psychological price was much greater. I lost the mental toughness and euphemistic "chip on the shoulder", and felt vulnerable. I always put the team before my own agenda, but at certain points during the rest of my soccer career I felt that my desire to win was a facade. In reality, I was just a scared little cub that didn't want to be criticized or made fun of. I got into my head way too much and that really hampered a number of my performances, particularly in soccer. At one point, soccer stopped being fun, but I was not about to call it quits on a collegiate athletic career I worked so tirelessly to acquire. In the grand scheme of things, I became a wuss - a hollow shell of the man I once was. I resorted to appeasement and people-pleasing, hoping I wouldn't scrutinized or made of fun.

My second injury (and I am pretty sure we all were this is going) - right, you guessed it! Breaking my right leg 8 games into my senior year of soccer at Rosemont College. To say I was devastated upon it happening is an understatement. It was cataclysmic, and my whole world shattered into countless pieces. The physical pain was intense, but once again, I reiterate the psychological discomfort was much greater. Immediately after surgery, I thought about hanging up my boots. I never wanted to be lying helpless in a hospital bed at a young age or put my body at risk at such a magnitude like I did on September 21, 2016.

Reality also settled in, and for the 1-2 months that followed surgery, there were nights where I would be up, bawling my eyes out because I was extremely mortified of the future. "What's next?" I asked myself. "What can I do with my life that will give me purpose and meaning like the way soccer did? Should I even bother supporting my team and showing up to the rest of our games?" The mental torment I experienced was real. However, once I traveled with my team for our conference match against Clarks Summit University, I immediately felt the old and gold Kaushik returning. The intensity my teammates displayed for the rest of that season, along with their unwavering support for me, made me realize I shouldn't give up the sport. Soccer has, and will always be, more than just a game to me. For the next several months, I knew what I had to do: rage like a mother****ing beast at the gym, kill it in the classroom, be diligent with my physical therapy, and slowly return to fitness. Throughout my road to recovery, my old, freshman year self returned to me, and I'm happy to report that he is back and better than ever. The fervent, drive, intensity, and "chip on my shoulder" was amplified, and continues to grow to new heights, and upon receiving clearance earlier in April, I rejoined the tennis team and managed to have a superb individual season for someone who was out of shape and rusty as **** after 2 years of not picking up a racket.

I have only 2 regrets throughout the course of my time with Rosemont soccer and tennis. First, I rue being careless right before my junior season of tennis and injuring my ankle just before the campaign was about to kickoff. Desperate to play for a Men's team in indoor soccer, I got what I wanted but the price was sitting out the entire Spring 2016 season with a fractured ankle. Already short on players and recently being named a team captain, being sidelined absolutely killed me. I knew I had let my team down, and not a day goes by where I mull over this failure.

My second regret pertains to the coaches and alumni who are forever associated with Rosemont College Men's Soccer. This has been in the back of mind for quite awhile. The year after the program reached its first conference final, my team and I were expected to make another run and bring home the championship. However, we failed to deliver on high expectations. Making only 1 playoff appearance and failing to qualify for the other 3 tournaments, miserably I might add, it irks me that the Men's Soccer program has become a shell of its once great self. I reiterate that I gave absolutely everything I had during my 4 years of college soccer, but I feel like it wasn't enough. My teammates and I could have, and SHOULD HAVE, done better, and I fully accept the responsibility and ramifications of not doing so. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely wish I was able to give the alumni, especially the seniors that played before me, more in terms of championships and winning records. I'm sorry that we couldn't deliver, and I pray that any college athletes who come across this article don't experience the regret and heartbreak I feel.

Despite my initial interest in playing a fifth year of soccer and studying for an MBA at Rosemont College, I made the difficult decision to stop pursuing my medical redshirt. It had nothing to do with the NCAA's rules and regulations or the extent of my injury. After a long time away from the game and getting more perspective on my life, I realize that it's time for me to move on and that I shouldn't stay rooted in the past. I ran myself into the ground and gave absolutely everything I had, but now it's time for someone else to step up and do even better. Despite the good and the bad, I'm really going to miss playing on the Gray. It's been a real joy and honor representing Rosemont for 72+ games, on the field or in crutches. My 90 minutes are up, but I won't be forgetting you anytime soon, and in no way, shape, or form will I be calling it quits for either sport anytime soon.

I'm going to be candid. After my tennis match against Bryn Athyn College on April 19th, 2017, I was in tears because I knew that I had just participated in my last NCAA competition for Rosemont College. It was the last time I would ever don the maroon, black, and gray. Everything was surreal at that moment-it felt like it was only yesterday that I walked into Rotwitt Theater as freshman for the NCAA Compliance Meeting right before participating in my very first collegiate preseason. These 4 years have flown by rapidly, and I cannot believe that in just a few weeks time I will have graduated from college.

However, I am nothing but grateful towards the Rosemont College Athletic Department. It has been a tremendous honor being an NCAA Division III athlete for Rosemont College athletics. We aren't perfect, and we don't have the facilities or infrastructure like some of our competitors, but in the end, they never really mattered to me. I spent a lot of time on the wrong side of the scoreline for both soccer and tennis, but again-that didn't matter to me, although qualifying for playoffs more frequently would've been ideal. I consider every person I have ever been teammates with to be my family, whether I get along with them or not. There's just more to sport than winning, and while I will always yearn to be victorious in all facets, I know that there is life beyond the 90 minutes or 3 sets. The amount of personal and athletic growth I've undergone has been monumental. I've made friends and forged strong bonds that will last a lifetime. I'm nowhere near perfect, but I know that the guys and gals I've played and trained with will always have my back. I honestly and strongly believe this would not be the case if I had committed elsewhere 4 years ago.

Thank you, Rosemont College, for allowing me to burn my soul to its very limit for you and live the life of a college athlete. In the grand scheme of things, I'm already winning because of you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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